How Many Eggs to Freeze
“How many eggs should I freeze?” This is one of the most common questions that women considering egg freezing have. The honest answer is that nobody knows for sure how many eggs a young woman should freeze to preserve her fertility, because long-term outcome data is still lacking. However, there are general guidelines.
How Many Eggs Should a Woman Freeze?
There are several key rules of thumb for women considering egg freezing:
- The older a woman is, the more eggs will be required to achieve a pregnancy.
- The lower the patient’s ovarian reserve, the more eggs are needed. This is because low ovarian reserve is not only associated with a lower number of eggs in the ovaries, but also with poorer egg quality.
Because egg numbers decline with advancing age and with declining ovarian reserve, under both of these circumstances women will need more cycles to freeze an adequate number of eggs. For this reason, egg freezing after age 38 is no longer considered economical.
The table below shows recommended estimates for numbers of eggs that should be frozen at different ages, for one desired child. For two or three desired children, those numbers should be doubled or tripled, accordingly. The table also presents estimates for how many ovarian stimulation cycles it will likely take at various ages to reach this minimum number of eggs per desired child.
Table: Estimated number of eggs and retrieval cycles necessary for 1 child at different ages
|Estimated minimum number of eggs for a single child*||10||15||20||25-30|
|Estimated number of egg freezing cycles required to reach the above-quoted number**||1||2||3-4||4-6|
*Approximately double the number for 2 children, triple it for 3, etc.
**These numbers are based on declining egg numbers with advancing age, and further assume that women have normal OR for age. Women with abnormally low OR for age (POA) should at minimum advance themselves by one age-category.
The number of eggs we recommend may surprise you. If so, it is important to understand that only very few eggs lead to pregnancy. Not every egg retrieved is a good quality egg of just the right maturity to be frozen. Not every frozen egg thaws well. Not every egg that does gets fertilized by sperm, and not every fertilized egg becomes an embryo that can be transferred into the uterus. Not every embryo transferred into the uterus implants, and not every embryo that implants becomes a healthy pregnancy leading to a normal delivery. In other words, there is considerable loss in human reproduction, and this is the main reason it takes so many eggs to make a baby.
How Many Egg Freezing Cycles Are Necessary?
As the table above demonstrates, the number of eggs to freeze has an impact on how many egg freezing cycles a woman needs. In turn, the number of necessary egg freezing cycles has a cost implication. CHR offers affordable package pricing for egg freezing to make egg freezing a reality even for women who need many cycles of egg freezing.
More importantly, CHR’s physicians provide nuanced counseling to each woman regarding how many eggs to freeze and how many cycles are likely needed, based on her age, ovarian reserve status, and other relevant factors.See Our Package Pricing Options
Considering Egg Freezing?
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- Your risk of developing premature ovarian aging (POA), a silent cause of infertility that affects 1 in 10 women
- How fertile you may be in the future
- Whether egg freezing is a good option for you
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Norbert Gleicher, MD, leads CHR’s clinical and research efforts as Medical Director and Chief Scientist. A world-renowned specialist in reproductive endocrinology, Dr. Gleicher has published hundreds of peer-reviewed papers and lectured globally while keeping an active clinical career focused on ovarian aging, immunological issues and other difficult cases of infertility.